BASH Sci-Fi Edition is indeed a complete toolkit for running any type of science fiction adventure a modern sci-fi fan can imagine, and it's also no slouch when it comes to running modern action or thriller games either. The system is deceptively complete, covering all of the major genres of science fiction. In addition, any or all of these genre packs, all of which are contained in the single pdf file for this game, can be combined seamlessly, allowing stories with combined genres or ones set in the far future where all of the strange technologies of fiction have come to pass.
Most modern games have a simple-to-understand action resolution system nowadays, but most generic, multigenre, or toolkit systems drop the ball when it comes to character creation, either leaving many options out in the name of simplicity, or falling prey to overcomplexity in the name of completeness. BASH does not fall prey to either of these issues. While characters are still built from points, the point values use much lower number all around, and the explanations for anything you might want to buy are quick and broad in scope without being vague. No calculators or reams of paper required to build a character - all of the point values for attributes, skills, advantages, and powers are in the single digits. A slight bit of game balance might be lost, but this broad-strokes style of bookkeeping is still precise enough to make sure there's a significant difference in cost between the powers to move small objects with your mind, turn invisible, or completely mind control someone.
Balance between mundanes and people with "powers" (each power is judged based on effect, and simply restricted to power sources that make sense) is kept by making near-impossible feats of mundane expertise into its own category of powers. In essence, being good at something is a skill or a high attribute, but being action-hero good at it is a power, just like mind control would be, and bought from the same pool of points that powers are.
Skills are judged by "have" or "have-not" and if a character has a skill, the character can roll their attribute to accomplish a relevant task. The have-nots can still make an attribute check, but, lacking the skill, will have a penalty on the attribute roll. This skill system is one of my only issues - while it makes the game very quick and easy to play, the lack of an ability to increase ratings in individual skills makes running a campaign slightly more difficult than a one-shot. However, it is possible to raise ratings in specialized areas of mastery within a skill, to alleviate this problem.
Finally, a lot of good examples are provided, even within the specialized genre packs, all within the book's 137 pages.
A lot of generic or toolkit game systems claim to cover all possibilities while remaining rules-light, but I am of the opinion that BASH is the only game system to manage being complete and being rules light, without these two goals interfering with each other. Overall, very little assembly required. I will use BASH the next time I run a Sci-Fi story for my group, and I expect that both the old hands and the newbs will be satisfied with the result.
For the asking price of the PDF, a solid value. I only wish it were sold in a pocket or digest-sized print edition I could slip in to my laptop bag or backpack, in case of pickup game.
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